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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Will Zim security forces get second chance to vote
    Gerry Jackson, SW Radio Africa
    July 18, 2013

    View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

    Just when you thought the Special Voting couldn’t get more confusing – it does.

    News agency AFP reported Thursday that security personnel, who had been unable to cast their vote during the chaotic Special Voting, would get another chance and be allowed to vote on 31st July.

    AFP quoted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissions chief Rita Makarau, assuring them that they “will be able to vote” with the rest of the country.

    As this early voting is specifically for administrators, police and soldiers who will be on duty on voting day, it is unclear how this would be facilitated.

    But the complete opposite of the AFP news report was the headline in Newsday on Thursday – Cops, soldiers won’t vote on July 31.

    The paper reports that the thousands of civil servants and uniformed forces who had not managed to vote will not be able to do so on July 31st as “the law does not give them that alternative.”

    Quoting Section 81B:2 of the Electoral Act the paper says: “A voter who has been authorised to cast a special vote shall not be entitled to vote in any other manner than by casting a special vote in terms of this Part.”

    The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is mandated to abide by the electoral laws, so their assurances that voting will go ahead is unlawful.

    Newsday quoted legal expert Chris Mhike who said: “At law, it is not permissible for the people who were supposed to cast their votes through the special ballot to vote again on July 31. If they were allowed to do so, it would make room for manipulation of votes either by way of a voter voting twice or fidgeting with the figures because the system is not properly controlled.”

    Tawanda Zhuwarara from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights confirmed this to Newsday: “I am not sure which section of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act Zec is relying on. According to the Electoral Act, once a person has been approved for the special vote, he is automatically struck off the voters’ roll. In terms of the law, once an individual has been issued authorisation to cast a special vote, that person, by operation of Section 81D subsection 3 of the Electoral Act, has to have his name removed from the voters’ roll and his name will have a line drawn across it and it will be inscribed SV (special vote).”

    “Every individual authorised to vote under the special vote has his name struck off the voters’ roll with a line that goes through it. They will then inscribe SV on the name. That means that person cannot vote under the normal voting procedure and this is done to avoid double voting.”

    It didn’t get any easier for Newsday in following up this story with ZEC. The paper contacted ZEC’s public relations director, Shupikai Mashereni, asking for clarification. Mashereni asked for questions in writing, which were sent.

    Mashereni then said he had sent the questions to ZEC’s chief elections officer, Lovemore Sekeramayi, and that there would be a response in an hour.

    At the end of that hour Mashereni told the Newsday reporter to call ZEC’s deputy PR officer Tendai Pamire. But Pamire denied having received the questions from Mashereni and asked for the questions to be resent.

    NewsDay then called Mashereni and told him Pamire denied receiving the questions.

    Mashereni said the questions had indeed been received, but they needed a lot of consultation.

    So, the Special Voting chaos continues and every day it becomes clear that Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission is not up to the task of running the election on July 31st.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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